Featured Artist: Caroline Douglas

The Healing Power of Art

“I am a testimonial to the healing power of art,” says Caroline Douglas, who suffered a severe head injury and was forced to relearn all of her cognitive functions. “I finally became so exhausted from all the doctor and hospital visits that I decided to simply go into my studio and sculpt. I discovered that as I worked on a piece while I had a bad headache, I could work on that area of the figure’s head and, soon after, my headache would be gone.” The more she delved into her work the better she felt. Caroline had tapped into the centuries—old understanding that through the process of creation there is healing. “It was cathartic for me. The pieces I was working on were subconsciously emanating from my own need for healing. For example, right after I returned to creating figures, I found I was sculpting women’s heads with their eyes shut. Later I realized that this was because I was in need of an inner place free from agitation and noise- a place of peace. With a head injury, one is so sensitive to outside stimulation, one just needs a lot of quiet. These women who stood before me emanated a kind of serenity for me so I could match that energy.”

“Sculpting is how I express myself. Figurative sculpting is like a mirror. It can represent how I feel or illuminate an experience. And often I discover what is coming or what is my next step from my current sculptures. I also often see the work as poking fun at some serious aspect of my life. Now that is healing.”

Caroline notes that after her injury her dreams became extremely vivid. She would often see a sculpture rendered perfectly in 3 dimensions. Within her dream she would rotate it, examine it and then upon waking she would draw what she had seen. Later she learned to channel these visions directly into the clay without needing to draw them. “I feel like a conduit. The energy flows through me. It wakes me up in some way. Art is my spiritual path. My studio is a sacred, safe space. I need to show up and work, but the energy of creation is present and when it flows the work seems effortless—magical.”

Caroline is very moved whenever someone sees one of her pieces and they begin to cry because it resonates so strongly with them. “I created a long canoe in which a woman was communicating with a big buck deer. A woman came into the studio and immediately broke down in tears. She had been in a car accident where she hit a deer and had been gored in the incident. Seeing the figure touched her very deeply. I love how art can allow that kind of experience.”

“The artist has to trust her own intuition. Let it lead where it wants to go. Give yourself permission to follow the flow. Art is healing energy- let the magic happen.”

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